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Guillaume Descamps "Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste César Paulée (AND NOT ANDRÉ HARTMANN!!)", 1813
Price: ON REQUEST
(please note additional 13% tax applies for transactions concluded within the European Union)
This portrait will be sold only together in the following group of items.
Of outstanding quality and extremely attractive oil portrait of a young smiling hussar lieutenant (two galoons on trousers!) painted in 1813 by well-known French portraitist Guillaume Descamps.
In the beginning of June 2012 we discovered this painting in the online catalogue of the forthcoming sale (on 23 June 2012) of the auction house "Xavier de la Perraudiere" in Saumur (see our image nr.11), a town in Western France (250 km from Paris). In the same days of June 2012, in the online catalogue of the forthcoming sale (on 27 June 2012) of another French auction house - the Parisian "Cornette de Saint Cyr", we discovered (and first could not believe) a 6-pieces-lot (see our image nr.12), containing six portrait drawings, one of which was a preparatory study for our portrait (!!). This fact seemed like a big coincidence, and after a short reflection, we came to suppose that both, the oil portrait in Saumur and the preparatory study for it in Paris, must have been in the same estate until recently and during sales of this estate came into the hands of different art dealers (who also are auctioneers).
Our supposition was confirmed indirectly. Although the Parisian auctioneers named their sale (with preparatory study to our painting) rather anonymous (they informed us afterwards, it was on request of the owners of the collection!) - "Ancienne collection du Comte Mathieu de la Redorte et du Comte Cornudet des Choummetes (correct: Chaumettes - B.W.) /provenant d'un chateau de la region d'Aubusson…", we succeded to find out the name of this chateau, which is located in the surroundings of the town Aubusson (department Creuse, region Limousin, central France) - Chateau des Cornudets in commune Crocq by Aubusson, in 1813 (date on both variations of the hussar's portrait) belonging to Joseph, Comte Cornudet des Chaumettes (1755-1834). Apparently, the current owners of this estate, mentioned above Comte Cornudet and Comte Mathieu de la Redorte (both families became related in 1854, when Valentine Mathieu de la Redorte married the grandson of the 1813-owner of Chateau des Cornudet) began to sell off the castle some time before they have invited the auctioneers from Paris. This is how the oil portrait of our hussar landed in Saumur, while the preparatory study and the five other portrait drawings (all portraits of persons connected (inclusive the hussar - see below) with each other (!) came to Parisian "Cornette de Saint Cyr".
Anyway, we made telephone bids for both sales and in both cases, after a hard "struggle" via telephone bidding, we were the successful winner. To miss such a chance to acquire the simultaneously in different places resurfaced oil portrait and preparatory study for it, would have been a "felony" - every collector would have acted the same way!
Not having received both wins yet, we started the identification of the sitter, the smiling Napoleonic hussar. We will not depict all stages of the iconographical and uniformological research, just say that the arriving of the six drawings from Paris has put all in place.
It turned out that three of six drawings bear names of their sitters - two obverse (our hussar (see our web # 36506) and the girl, who turned out to be hussar's future sister-in-law (our web # 36509)), and one (written recently with ball-point pen) on reverse (portrait of Jeanne, Comtesse Cornudet des Chaumettes, wife of 1813-owner of Chateau - our web # 36511).
Thus, we came to know the name of our lieutenant: his drawn portrait (our web # 36506) bears in lower left corner an inscription made with the same (sic!) ink by the artist himself (all 6 drawings are signed and dated by the same Guillaume Descamps) - "m-r Paulée" (m(onsieu)-r). POSSIBLE ARGUMENTATION THAT THIS INSCRIPTION WOULD BE ONE, WRITTEN BY LATER HAND (see our postscript) IS ABSOLUTELY CONFUTED THROUGH CAREFUL STUDY OF IMAGES NR.7-8 OF OUR # 36506 - WITHOUT A SHADOW OF DOUBT THE DRAWING ITSELF, ARTIST'S MONOGRAM WITH DATE 1813 AND TITLE - ALL OF THEM ARE BY THE SAME HAND AND MADE AT THE SAME TIME!!
The second drawing, titled obverse is inscribed (also by the artist!) in lower left corner - "Eglée Vanlerberghe". These two authentic inscriptions and the third (by later hand) title on verso of Comtesse Cornudet's portrait were the key to the identification of all six persons.
We start describing them, but keep our lieutenant as the best for last.
1. (our web # 36511) signed and dated 1813 and (recently) titled on verso portrait of 45-year-old Jeanne, Comtesse Cornudet des Chaumettes, nee Baronesse Cellier du Montel (1768-1834)
2. (our web # 36509) signed, dated 1813 and titled portrait of 14-year-old Eglé-Eugenie Vanlerberghe (1799-1875), who in 1821 married the son of 1813-owner of Chateau des Cornudet, Etienne-Emile, Comte Cornudet des Chaumettes.
3. (see our web # 36510) signed and dated 1813 portrait of eldest from three Vanlerberghe sisters, elder sister of no.2, 23-year-old Barbe Rosalie Josephine Vanlerberghe (1790-1879). In 1805, then 15 years old, she married Napoleon's adjutant, General Jean Rapp, divorced him in 1811 and married in 1816 her second husband, Leonard-Charles de Villoutreys de Brignac. On this portrait she is divorced Comtesse de Rapp.
By the way, this portrait is a real sensation - read carefully the description of our web # 36510 !!
4. (see our web # 36507) signed and dated 1813 watercolor portrait of the second from three sisters, younger sister of no.3 and elder of no.2, ca. 21-year-old Sophie Angélique Vanlerberghe (ca. 1792-1864). Daughter of an extremely wealthy father (read description of our web # 36507), she married in 1810 the son of her father's partner, (also one of the richest men in France)… our hussar lieutenant Paulée. After latter's death in 1831 she remarried in 1834; her second husband was the famous (formerly Napoleonic) general and politician, Jean François, Vicomte Jaqueminot.
5. (see our web # 36509) signed and dated 1814 (sic!) portrait of 3-3,5-year-old Eglé-Rosalie Paulée, daughter of no.4 and our Lieutenant Paulée (read also carefully description of this portrait - web # 36509).
6. And finally our "m-r Paulée" (discussed here oil portrait and preparatory study for it (web # 36506)).
The full name of this young officer was Jean-Baptiste César Paulée. He was born in 1789 in the native town of his father - Douai, Northern France - as a son of the future greatest French realty speculator and provision supplier of at first Royal and then Napoléonic army, Jean-Baptiste Paulée-senior and latter's wife Marie Barbe Dervaux.
The father, Paulée-senior began his career as an errand boy in Douai (see image nr.13). Later he worked in the local tavern as a servant, from which he rose to be the butler of the tavern. He was then almost illiterate. Through his job in the tavern he made good acquaintances with stationed in Douai army officers (even a few generals), who helped him to begin an activity as a provision supplier to the army. Even before the start of the French Revolution his fortune was very significant, but in the years of Revolution and following periods of Directory, Consulate and the 1st Empire, he (like his friend and partner Vanlerberghe) gathered a great wealth and became the greatest realty speculator of France (see our image nr.13). Just in Belgium he acquired lands and buildings for a sum of 18 million Francs. However, in the last period of 1st Empire he (again, like his partner Vanlerberghe) faced major financial difficulties (our image nr.14 provides information about his arrest in 1810 for the nonpayment of taxes in the amount of 300 000 Francs to the treasury); it happened in the same year as his son married - obviously the family has not become completely poor like the family of his partner (and now even relative) Vanlerberghe, who at this point was also in prison (in image nr.13 we find description of a great wedding giving, which our lietenant obtained from his parents).
According to his service list Jean-Baptiste César Paulée-junior began his military service on 19th April 1811 as a sous-lieutenant (2nd lieutenant) of 6th Hussar Regiment. In ranks of his regiment he made the whole Russian campaign of 1812. On 12 January 1813 he was promoted to lieutenant. On 21 April of 1813, in Germany, he was appointed aide-de-camp of Lieutenant-General comte Guiilleminot. On 19 November 1813 he was awarded Chevalier Cross of Legion of Honour with simultaneous promotion to captain (still being adjutant of General Guilleminot). In early 1814 he served in the garrison of Fortress of Mainz (then on French territory; capitulated on 4 May 1814). The exact date of his retreat from military service remains unknown; beginning from the late 1810s and until his death on 30 January 1831 he is mentioned as successor of father's business and also one of the greatest realty dealers in France.
Additionally we were able to find a few other documents concerning him on the web (see our images nr.15-21).
Obviously news about his awarding with Legion of Honour and promotion to captain surprised him in Paris, where he was then - either on short-term vacation, or with some commission of his general.
We also suppose (read description of our web # 36506) in the period between 15th (sic!) and 30th November 1813 another important event could take place in Paris, an event which required the presence of the connected with familial or matrimonial bonds members of the families Cornudet, Vanlerberghe and Paulée - the possible engagement of then 18-year-old Comte Cornudet-junior and the youngest of the Vanlerberghe sisters, then 14-year-old Eglé-Eugenie (the wedding, as said above, took place 8 years later in 1821). To this same event the popular Parisian portraitist Guillaume Descamps could be invited, who probably portrayed every one of the present guests (but surely minimum the six our persons). And our Paulee posed for artist still in lieutenant's uniform and "with imaginary", practically still not delivered cross of Legion of Honour. The depicted cross is one of so-called 3rd model - without balls on the tops of rays. In reality in these days participants of Saxonian campaign of autumn of 1813 already were receiving crosses of new 4th model (with balls!).
IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE, THAT OUR LIEUTENANT VISITED PARIS (AND RESPECTIVELY MET DESCAMPS) SOME EARLIER AS NOVEMBER, AND DESCAMPS ADDED THE CROSS TO FINISHED PORTRAIT AFTERWARDS.
One interesting detail more: According to Moscow uniformologist Dmitri Gorchkoff (we would say here that in last time his numerous "attributions" were convincingly confuted by another renowned specialists in military uniform!!!), the sitter wears a lieutenant's uniform not of his 6th (see our images nr.30-31) Hussar Regiment, but of Hussar Regiment "Jerome Napoleon".
This unit of Napoleonic cavalry was created in late days of July 1813 practically as a present of Emperor Napoleon I to his youngest brother Jerome, then King of existing 1806-1813 on German territories puppet Kingdom of Westphalia with Kassel as capital. The formation of this regiment began on 31 July and was confirmed by special Emperor's decree on 6 August 1813. In this composition (being renamed in January 1814 as "13th Hussar Regiment") this unit existed practically only until 24 March 1814 - in the Battle of Feré-Champenoise the regiment lost nearly all of its men - killed or wounded. Filled with new complement it was nevertheless finally dissolved on 12 August 1814.
Initially the regiment's core was created from various troops; soldiers and officers were mainly German-speaking men.
On 28 September 1813, as Russian Cossacks burst into suburbs of Kassel, King Jerome and his Guards left the city in a hurry. They spent two weeks in Koblenz waiting for Napoleon to send his troops, which chased the Cossacks away. King Jerome returned to Kassel but on 26 October 1813 he left the city for good; he was accompanied by a small escort (a.o. "Jerome Napoleon" hussars).
On 1 November 1813 Jerome Bonaparte arrived in Cologne. In the book "King Harlequin/ Life of Jerome Bonaparte" by Jules Bertaut we are reading following ironic lines: "The house, which he (King Jerome - B.W.) inhabited, was stuffed with guard soldiers, whose theatrical golden-overloaded uniforms wonderfully fitted into the circumstances. Chamberlains were standing around on the stairs, because there were no Antechambers, and everything suspiciously reminded of a wandering farce troupe, which plays a tragedy."
In the period between late November (thus soon after our Lieutenant Paulée obtained his Legion d'Honneur - B.W.) and early December 1813 Jerome's wife, Queen Catherine (she was in France then), not without difficulties, persuaded Napoleon, who was enraged by the cowardice of his younger brother, to allow Jerome to leave Germany and come to France to Chateau de Compigne (80 km north of Paris), which was set aside for him. He got there very fast (already in December!), accompanied by his escort (again: among these men were hussars from the regiment "Jerome Napoleon"!).
The reason, why the aide-de-camp of General Guilleminot (our Lieutenant Paulée) is wearing in these days not his uniform of 6th Hussars but that of "Jerome Napoleon" (so "expert" Dimitri Gorchkoff!) remains a great question. Could it be connected with found by Mr. Gorchkoff information, that at the Battle of Hanau (30-31 October 1813; two and a half weeks before our lieutenant was awarded with Legion of Honour) escort of his chief, General Guilleminot contained "Jerome Napoleon" hussars??!!
Or. probably MR. GORCHKOFF IS AS USUALLY WRONG (!!), and the sitter wears yet the uniform of 6th Hussars (see again images nr.30-31)?!!
The final answer could give additional information from French archives; but we are hardly able to get this information yet...
And now a few words about the strange note in the catalogue entry to the 6-pieces-lot in the Paris auction house "Cornette de Saint Cyr" concerning preparatory study for the here discussed portrait. This drawing (see the two last lines in our image nr. 12) is described there as "Portrait d'un maréchal/Plume et ecre grise et noire - 15,5 x 11,5 cm - Monogrammé et daté an bas á gauche D. 1813 et annoté Mar (Maréchal - B.W.) Soult".
As image nr.22 shows, our lieutenant from 1813 by no means could have been Marshal of Empire Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult (who then was 44 years old and had absolutely physiognomic difference)!
Where did that name come from?
We are sure in following: One of the mentioned above owners of the collection, during preparation for the sale, could not decipher the inscription "m-r Paulée" and took it for "Mar Soult". Moreover, this name plays a special role in the story of the families Cornudet, Vanlerberghe and Paulée. The famous Marshal Soult had a son, Napoleon, 2nd Duke of Dalmatia (see image nr. 22). Our image nr. 23 shows a clips from the issue of London "The Court Journal" from 30 November 1833, where we can find an interesting message from Paris: "A marriage is said to be on the tapis between a son of Marshal Soult and Mlle Paulée, daughter-in-law of General Jacqueminot, and one of the richest heiresses in France...".
So, two years before the wedding of Lieutenant's Paulée daughter Eglé Rosalie (our no. 5) with Charles-Marie-Tanneguy comte Duchatel (read description of our web # 36508) Eglé Rosalie (then already daughter-in-law of her mother's second husband General Jacqueminot) according to rumors, was to marry Marshal Soult's son Napoleon!
Either this marriage was very short-termed and ended with a divorce after a couple of months or it did not take place at all. In any case, in 1835 Eglé Rosalie married Comte Duchatel...
Guillaume-Désire-Joseph Descamps was born in 1779 in Lille and died in 1858 in Paris. He was a pupil of François-André Vincent. In 1802, he won the 2nd Rome-Prize for his painting "Sabinus et Eponine devant Vespasien". Through involvement of Jean-Baptiste Wicar, in 1808, he became a "Peintre officiale du Roi de Naples, Joachim Murat" (in that period, he painted Murat's portrait, as well as some subjects from events of those times: among others, "La roi Joachim Murat distribuant des récompenses aux blessés a bord de la frigate "La Céres", après le combat de 27 juin 1809" (formerly in Palazzo de Potrici in Naples; it was also engraved by Descamps himself)). He regularly exhibited at the Salon de Paris portraits, historical and religious scenes (a.o. paintings intended for churches - St. Estauche (1819) in Paris, St. André (1822) and Chapel of Hospital in Lille.
Works of Descamps can be viewed today in Versailles, Chateau Malmaison, Museum of Fine Arts in Lille, etc.
Our images nr.24-29 show some of them.
For the two years preceding the acquisition of this portrait, aforesaid Moscow uniformologist Mr. Gorchkoff provided us with regular assistance as a specialist in military uniforms (as already mentioned, most of his "attributions" and "arguments" were later picked to pieces by reputable military historians). Moreover, AT OUR FIRST MEETING IN 2009 MR. GORCHKOFF FRAUDULENTLY DECLARED HIMSELF TO BE A DOCTOR OF HISTORY, ALTHOUGH THE DEFENSE OF HIS MASTER'S THESIS (GAINING THE INITIAL (!) RUSSIAN HONORARY DEGREE OF A "CANDIDATE OF SCIENCE") WILL ONLY TAKE PLACE IN MAY OF 2017). CONSEQUENTLY WE RECOMMENDED "DR. GORCHKOFF" (AS A "LEADING RUSSIAN SPECIALIST IN FRENCH MILITARY UNIFORMS") TO DIVERSE AUTHORITIES IN PORTRAIT MINIATURES. THE LATTER IN THEIR TURN RECOMMENDED HIM TO EXPERTS OF AUCTION HOUSE "CHRISTIE'S", AND SOON THEREAFTER NAME "DR. GORCHKOFF" APPEARED IN SALE CATALOGUES OF THIS HOUSE AS CO-AUTHOR OF THIS OR ANOTHER ENTRY TO MILITARY PORTRAITS (LATER "CHRISTIE'S" HAD SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH BUYERS WHO ACQUIRED THESE ITEMS WITH WRONG (!) "DR. GORCHKOFF" ATTRIBUTIONS).
Once the portrait was purchased, Mr. Gorchkoff received from us its photograph and, few days later, made (for himself, a Moscow historian and, especially, in light of the forthcoming 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Borodino) a quite lucrative decision to identify the sitter as certain Lieutenant André Hartmann (also Hartemann) from the (stationed in 1813 in Koblenz, Germany) Hussar Regiment "Gerome Napoleon". This man was particularly interesting for Mr. Gorchkoff due to his heroic participation in the Battle of Borodino: during one of the attacks against the Russians, he remained at duty despite losing two fingers. After promptly producing an article on this subject, Mr. Gorchkoff was already looking forward to his speech at the upcoming academic conference marking the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Borodino. However, only two weeks after the acquisition of this oil painting, he was unpleasantly surprised at the emergence of a preparatory drawing for the latter (see our web #36506).
Unwilling to withdraw his speech (it was already included in the conference agenda), Mr. Gorchkoff made desperate attempts to refute the obvious: he now insisted that the inscription "m-r Paulée" under the drawing (web #36506) was made by a later hand, and that all six drawings acquired at "Cornette de Saint Cyr" have nothing in common and are merely unrelated sketches from the artist's album(s) made at different periods.
Finally, Mr. Gorchkoff addressed the conference with his "André Hartmann" speech and swiftly endorsed his "legend" by referring to various (!) publications in Russian and French magazines on military history.
In the last (May-June 2016) issue of French "Vivat Hussar" magazine, he was incautious enough to use the visual description of Lieutenant André Hartmann (Hartemann) that he discovered in the French military archives (see our image nr.32).
Allow us then to compare this description with the factual physiognomic features of "our" sitter:
1. Visage (face): ovale (oval)
2. Yeux (eyes): gris (gray)
3. Bouche (mouth): grande (large)
4. Cheveux (hair): chataine (dark-blond)
5. Front (forehead): haut (high)
6. Nez (nose): ordinaire (standard)
7. Menton (chin): rond (round)
8. Sourcils (moustache): chataine-brun (dark-blond)
1. Face: oval
2. Eyes: gray
3. Mouth: large
4. Hair: Light-blond (chataine clair; if "our" sitter were André Hartemann indeed, it would mean that he changed color (highlighted) of his moustache and eyebrows into a lighter shade)
5. Forehead: standard forehead, one would not call it high
6. Nose: a distinctly aquiline nose
7. Chin: elongated and double
8. Moustache: light-blond (chataine clair)
It is evident that, by publishing the aforesaid document and making this comparison (even when only half of the factors is taken into consideration - especially nr.7) Mr. Gorchkoff has "shut himself in the foot": such important elements (for any physique) as the hair color and chin shape are clearly absent from his description of Lieutenant Hartmann
We do not intend to dwell long upon other absurdities of Mr. Gorchkoff's story. It does however seem vital to clarify a few instances. For example, it is highly improbable that established Parisian portraitist Giullaume Descamps took a trip to provincial Koblenz, where André Hartmann was stationed from August 21, 1813. Making an assumption that in autumn 1813 Hartmann went on some mission to Paris hardly works: the probability of a humble (born in a petty bourgeois family) lieutenant finding the courage to visit the studio of a fashionable (hence, very expensive) artist and, what's more, ordering his own portrait from him (there is no doubt that it is a commissioned work!) is extremely weak.
In conclusion it is clear that, alike in many of his (by now deflated) "attributions", Mr. Gorchkoff is mistaking the wish for the reality and continues, despite our disallowance (as owner of "Portrait of Jean-Baptiste César Paulée"), to relentlessly publish the latter portrait under an assumed name.
Condition: good; unlined, stretched on newly stretcher; in magnificent handmade and gilded frame in Empire style
Creation Year: 1813
Measurements:UNFRAMED:73,5x60,5cm/28,9x23,8in FRAMED: 89,2x76,2cm/35,1x30,0in
Object Type:Framed painting
Style: 19th century paintings
Technique: Oil on canvas
Inscription:signed and dated: G. DESCAMPS. /1813.
Creator: Guillaume-Désire-Joseph Descamps
Creator Dates: 1779 Lille-1858 Paris
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